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Using Small Steps to Form a Habit
Normally, I reserve Spontaneous Ponderings posts for paid subscribers. However, I felt like this post was something I wanted to share with everyone. I hope it’s meaningful to you and helps you be more consistent with Bible reading.
Since the beginning of the year, I’ve been trying to make a few positive changes in my life. I’ve been working on decluttering my house, and I’ve been trying to change my mindset related to nutrition and eating. As I’ve listened to experts on both of these topics, I’ve been struck by one common theme: you can’t change everything all at once. The only way to make sustainable progress is through baby steps.
Take decluttering, for instance. I had a goal to declutter my kitchen. If I thought that I needed to find a time to declutter the entire kitchen at once, I would currently have 0% of my kitchen decluttered. But, by finding 10 minutes here and 10 minutes there, and by focusing on one shelf or drawer or cupboard at a time, I decluttered 100% of my kitchen in about a month.
Same goes for nutrition and eating. If you need to lose 25 or 50 or 100 pounds, you aren’t going to be able to do that all at once. The weight will only come off a pound or two at a time. And to make this change sustainable, you can’t go on a drastic diet. You have to make small changes to your mindset and your habits, picking up progressively better habits as time goes on. You have to make one improved choice at a time.
So why am I sharing this with you? It dawned on me today (I’m writing this on 4/5) that we can apply this same process to our spiritual growth.
We can grow spiritually by finding small pockets of hidden time to invest in our relationship with God.
When we think about needing to fit devotions or prayer time into our lives, often it seems overwhelming. We’re just too busy, and we don’t have time. That’s because we make the goal too big. We think to make it really meaningful, we have to devote an hour to concentrated Bible study every day, or we have to pray for every single person we know. Sometimes even 10 minutes seems like too much! And so we don’t even try. We quit before we start.
But what if we apply that baby step mentality to our spiritual growth? Maybe you can’t find an hour, or even 10 minutes at a time. But could you find time to open your Bible (or your Bible app) and read one verse? Or two? Look at those spaces in your life where you are just waiting for something. Here are some waiting times that might be common in your life:
Waiting for a child before/during/after school or extracurricular activities
Sitting in the waiting room at the doctor’s office
Waiting for a child or spouse to be ready to leave for an event
Waiting for your food to be ready in the oven or microwave
Waiting for your TV show or sports game to start
Sitting on the toilet (just being real here…)
What are some waiting times that you can identify in your life? Drop a comment below to help others think of available times in their lives!
I don’t know about you, but when I’m waiting for something or someone, my default is to get on my phone and scroll through social media or play a game. What if, before I open one of those apps, I open my Bible app instead and read a verse or two or more? Or instead of listening to music or a podcast while I exercise (or drive if you have a long commute), I listen to my audio Bible instead? I did this one year, and I listened through the entire Bible in 9 months while running. It was a really unique experience, and I hope to do it again someday.
By finding these pockets of time to prioritize Bible reading or prayer rather than mindless scrolling, you might be surprised how much time you can uncover to spend in God’s word. And as you build this habit, maybe it grows from reading one verse a day to reading a chapter a day to finding a total of an hour a day to read and study your Bible and pray throughout the day. Or maybe you take that time to start memorizing Scripture. This hidden time could be the most valuable time you can use to invest in your spiritual growth.
I encourage you to start by choosing one time per day while you are waiting for something or someone to decide to read your Bible or pray while you wait instead of doing something else. Whether that’s 2 minutes or 2 hours, or whether you have time to read 1 verse or 1 chapter or more, being conscious of these opportunities to connect with God during your busy day will keep your mind focused on him. And that will lead to growth.
If you decide to do this, I’d love to hear from you! Drop a comment on this post, or reply to the email if you are a subscriber. We can encourage each other as we grow in Christ together.
If you need suggestions on where to start, here are some ideas.
The Scripture that your pastor is using for his current sermon series
The Scripture you are studying in your small group or Bible study
Your favorite book of the Bible
Start reading through the Bible from front to back
Start reading through the Bible chronologically
Read through Psalms or Proverbs
Read through the New Testament or the four gospels
Read through the Bible Bingo passages from our Characteristics of God study